My best friend is impulsive and tends to buy things (dresses in particular) because she loves them at that moment. She falls in love with the fabric or idea of the frock but then she never wears it.
This habit is expensive. You literally end up with a closet filled with clothes, yet have nothing to wear.
The culture of fast fashion has definitely taught us to lust after something new all too often.
We crave our 'fix' and disregard our creativity for styling old items differently and in new and exciting ways.
So my bestie and I decided to ‘fix’ our relationship with our clothes by breaking up with them.
Here’s how it worked:
We invited a group of seven women to my flat for a swap. Six showed up. (Interestingly we considered women with very different body shapes for this experiment – i.e. petite, tall, curvy, etc.
The thought-process was that the petites would swap with each other and that, say, big boob-havers might swap a top. This panned out a bit differently - but more on this later).
The idea was to bring 10 items each – predominantly clothes as shoes would be tricky. Just think, fitting into a rather elastic size 10 skirt when you’re a 14 is easier than squeezing a size 7 foot into a number 5 boot.
Some brought more items, some brought less. We weren’t too strict. We just wanted the quality to be good.
The entrance fee: a bottle of bubbly and a snack (it started at 6pm so this, ultimately, became our dinner).
But we decided to flip the swap on its fanny as we didn’t do an actual trade for trade. We reckoned that since we have broken up with our clothes and just wanted to be friends (if that) we should set them free.
That meant allowing them to find new happy homes – on the bodies of different babes.
So we just went for it. The idea being that if your friend takes five of your items and you only take one of hers, it’s still a win-win. You didn’t want that item anyway, it would just reclaim it's (dusty) spot in your cupboard if you took it home.
Here’s a few interesting things that happened:
• I got most of my new items from the petite women. I’m tall and curvy so really didn’t consider finding treasures in their troves.
• We all swapped round about the same amount of items, each ending up with an average of 6 new items.
• The swap made us much more adventurous with our style. If you’re paying for something you tend to stick to your style. But when fashion options are free, you try new things and actually discover how they can be incorporated into your unique vibe. For example, I got a mint corduroy shirt. Something I would never ever give as much as a glance at in a store.
• You know how women often tip-toe around talking about each other’s bodies because it’s all so sensitive? The way we spoke to each other about our bodies as we tried on the clothing was to me the highlight of the evening. There was no 'beautiful body' hierarchy, we really just supported each other to find the best items for our shapes. I even remember telling my one friend, "That looks like a hospital gown on you, no put it back". We encouraged each other to try new things we were to shy to give a go in the past, because body issues; and found new ways to celebrate our shape.
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